I’m nervous as I pull into Nadia’s apartment complex. She lives in a small eight hundred square foot one bedroom in a gated community where the gate is always broken. This hot April afternoon sun makes the walk to the front door almost like a gym workout. Nadia slowly opens the door. As I expect, she is upset because she isn’t making eye contact with me. I say, “Hi honey,” as I humbly gestured for a kiss, or maybe a hug.
“Ryan, you’re late again. I hate this. I hate the way your ex-wife treats you. This is getting old,” Nadia says as she angrily gathers her things. Nadia turns back toward me saying, “Now you’re making me late.” “I can’t control what she does or if she’s on time to pick up my kids. Look, I know you are mad, but can we just go?” I politely ask.
Riding in the car, Nadia is so mad at me because she will not talk or look at me. Not knowing what to do next because I don't want to make things worse, I say, “I’m sorry,” as I put my hand on hers, and Nadia turns to look at me finally. She holds my hand a little tighter. “Ryan we've been doing this for a while now and somedays I wonder if this is how it is always going to be,” Nadia says. “This will get better,” I reply almost without thinking about my response. “Really, what are you going to do differently? When are you going to start standing up for us? She is not going to change,” Nadia says with a frustrated look. She pulls her hand away and quietly turns back to face the front. We both just stare out the front window. Oh God, how I hate Houston traffic.
We arrive at the warehouse. Nadia says, “I guess you are not coming in?” “No, I’m not ready yet. I’ll wait for you at the coffee shop,” I say. “Just like always. Pick me up in a few hours!” Nadia says slamming the car door. Nadia stomps to the front door and bangs on it. Two women let her in.
I get myself a vanilla latte with whipped cream at the nearby coffee shop. I sit down hoping to get some work done. I can’t stop thinking about Nadia. I spend more time daydreaming about her than working.
I start daydreaming about the first time we met when Nadia worked behind the counter at an adult bookstore. One of the nicer ones, if that is possible, but it still smelled like cheap incense. At this place, the customers were not all dirty old men, but rather a diverse group of seemingly friendly people. How would I know; I never talked to any of these people because I kept my head down and I didn’t make eye contact. I had my area of the bookstore that I frequent.
But, this night was different. I walked to my little corner of the store as always. Reading the movie rental covers, I looked up, and out the corner of my right eye, I sensed a blonde-haired woman. I turned to look seeing a woman working behind the counter. She was beautiful with striking facial features. She was new, and I was curious. I had to get a closer look.
I needed to move quickly because lucky for me she was at the counter alone. As I got closer to her, she started walking away from me. Curiosity turned into serious interest as I watched her walk away from me because she had the best ass. Being this close to the counter gave me the chance to see she was tall in her early twenties and thin wearing tight yoga pants and four-inch black pumps.
I nervously waited at the counter. Laughing to myself I’m six feet one, and I'm still looking up at this woman. She’s six feet four. When she returned to the counter, I handed her the movie box, and I said "Hi.” She looked at the box cover then we made eye contact, and she said, "Do you think she’s pretty?” looking at the woman on the box. “Yea, I do,” I said. “I do too,” she replied. I felt it. We connected, we had something in common. The attractive female on the box cover bonded us.
We talked for a long time, it was only a few minutes; but we never introduced ourselves. I said, “Too bad we can't talk again unless I come back." Turning toward her purse, she moved her hair from over her left ear handing me her card. Her phone number and the name Nadia was written above a pair of red lips on the card. “Call me,” Nadia said maintaining eye contact. I felt her seducing me as she handed me my change from the register. “I’m Ryan,” I said. Nadia was different, and I liked it; plus, I like tall women. Placing her card in my pocket, I said, “We’ll talk soon. Have a good night.”
The sound of the loud espresso machine broke my deep thoughts. My vanilla latte is cold now. Nadia sent a text maybe 45 minutes later. She is ready to go home.
I text Nadia to let her know I am outside the warehouse. Nadia’s hands are full carrying all these craft materials. Getting out of the car, “Let’s put this in the trunk,” I say opening the trunk. “Are you okay?” I ask her. Nadia says, “Yes, but I’m tired. Those shots make my stomach hurt after a little while.”
“Honey, just leave all of that stuff in the trunk, I will bring it in later,” I tell her. I know we’re having a long day, but I want to touch her when we are inside her apartment. I could not help myself, so I touch her on the lower back. Nadia says, “You always get like this when we get inside. I wish you showed this kind of affection all the time.” Deep down Nadia is right. I know this truth bothers Nadia. I start trying to kiss her. “Typical," Nadia says, “Ryan go home,” as she pushes me away. “Call you later," I say turning to the door.
"How are you feeling?" I sent a text to Nadia later that evening. "Ok, just relaxing. What are you doing?" she texts back. "I'm shaving. Sitting in meditation. Getting ready for work tomorrow. Talk to you tomorrow.” I send back another text. “Good night, I’m going to bed,” she texts back. I enjoy shaving; it is what makes me feel the most like a man.
My office is cold this morning. That is usual. Jerry being late is unusual, and he is never late. I know it is common for women to have one close gay friend, well, it’s okay for guys to have one too. And Jerry is my one gay friend. We’ve worked together for 15 years. Jerry is not the most physically fit guy, but he makes a lot of money investing in laundromats around town while keeping his day job. Now in his mid-30’s, I’m sure a lot of guys see Jerry as a good catch. Jerry is a nice guy; I consider him a good friend. The rumor mill at work says he has a new boyfriend.
I hear Jerry coming my way, and he pops his head in my office doorway. “Hey Jerry, how have you been?” I say, as I casually gestured for a handshake. “I’m good,” Jerry says smiling. "Hey, can I ask you something," he says. He was going to ask it anyway, so I don't know why he asked my permission. I reply, “Yea, what you got”? Jerry hesitates; then he says, “Hey were you at Club Vanessa a few weekends ago? Because I could’ve sworn that I saw your Jaguar in the parking lot.” I reply grinning, “You mean that gay club? Nope, man, that wasn't me! My Jaguar was at home with Nadia and me."
I stand up to close my door after looking to see if anyone was outside. I say, “Jerry, do you think you should be so open about the places you go? I’m not saying you should hide it, but I don’t think you need telegraph it either and especially at work.”
Jerry in a very effeminate manner snapping his neck turns to face me squarely and says, “Look I am not going to hide who I am. We can’t hide that we are black, can we, no, we can’t. Gay and happy is who I am. You are going to make me read you this early in the morning. Are you scared to let the world see who you really are? Stop worrying about what other people think. I choose not to live like that.” “Jerry, I worry about you. That is all. It is crazy out there,” I say to Jerry trying to fix this mess. "If they can't love me for who I am! Then screw them. You don't have to worry about me, I'm fine. I'm not going to let you bring my morning down,” Jerry says switching out of my office. I sit there shaking my head.
It is the weekend. I don’t have the kids, so I am spending time with my mother and stepfather Robert. My stepfather always wants to talk about work. “Robert, we are busy at work," I say without much thought. The television is always so loud with either the national or local news blaring in the kitchen. I always like to comment on how pretty the local weathergirls are on tv. Like clockwork, Mama (who never liked my ex-wife) says, “Why haven’t you brought a pretty girl for us to meet?” At this point, I need to leave. “You know your sister is coming in for the fourth of July? Do you have any plans?” Mama asks. "Mama, I'm going to go now, I have plans tonight with friends. Robert, see you later. Mama, I love you,” I say walking out of the door.
I do not have plans with friends; I just need to get away from my Mama. I have a date with Nadia tonight. Usually, we stay in watching movies in my high-rise condo. Some light jazz playing in the background, cooking her a nice meal paired with the right wine always gets her in the mood. But, tonight I want to stay at her place.
I almost forgot to text Nadia, “Don’t take your shots today.” Nadia sends a text back saying, “Ok, you caught me at the right time. Are you staying with me tonight?” “I want to,” I text back. I am surprised that she did not question why I asked her that.
I’m at Nadia’s house a few hours later. Nadia is not ready to go. She is worse than most girls when it came down to getting ready and putting on makeup. So, I wait. I decide not to turn on the tv. It might send the wrong message that she can take her time. She walks out of the bathroom grabbing her purse. I gesture for her to stop for a second. The wait is worth it. The fitted white jeans, the black pumps, and a cropped black shirt are a huge turn on. I say, “You look like you just stepped out of a magazine. WOW!” Nadia replies, “Thank you, honey. You look good too.” Feeling my muscles, she kisses me on the cheek saying," I’ve always liked that jacket on you.” “You ready? Let’s go,” I say.
“Oh, you washed the Jaguar,” she says. “I have to look good for my girl,” I say smiling back at her. We arrive at Club Vanessa. Nadia’s girlfriends are waiting for her. Nadia with a frown says, “I wish you would come in. You never come in. I want to introduce you to my friends. They want to meet you.” “You go have fun. I will be in the car waiting for you,” I say. She kisses me and runs to her friends. Sitting in the car gives me time to reflect on our relationship. Is she satisfied? Can I be a better boyfriend? How can I be different? A knock on my window startles me. It is Nadia. She is ready to leave.
“Does the gate even work anymore?” I laugh. “Nadia replies, “Who knows?” Nadia gets out of the car. Taking advantage that we are alone outside, I reach for her hand as we walk to her front door. Nadia’s smile indicates she is surprised and pleased that I am showing such affection.
I sit down on her couch. She runs to the bathroom, it looks like she has been holding it for a while. A few minutes later, I hear the bathroom door open, so I turn to look. Nadia stands in the doorway only wearing blue laced thong panties and black pumps. Nadia’s hair barely touches her shoulders because she undid her ponytail.
Nadia slinks toward me. I sit on the couch open to her seduction. Standing in front of me, she reaches for the side of my face bringing me closer to her naked stomach. Her stomach is smooth and toned; even a little warm. I kiss and lick around her navel while she strokes my nappy hair. She sits down next to me, and we kiss with an intensity that comes only with new relationships. As we kiss, she touches my waist with her right hand guiding my body closer to hers. Her touch taps into my consciousness; ordering me to climb on top of Nadia. Straddling her waist, I kiss her neck and touch her breasts, and gradually Nadia’s penis is becoming erect.
Her girth builds beneath me. I grind my hips on her swollen genitalia. Nadia says, “I wondered why you didn’t want me to take my estrogen shots. You’ve never asked that before.” Nibbling on her earlobe, I whisper, “I’m ready.” She unbuttons my shirt exposing my muscular chest. Nadia kisses my chest saying, “I love your chest.” I say nothing. The gym is paying off. I adjust my position closer to her knees, so her masculinity is nearly free of her panties.
Sitting away from her crotch makes it easy to wrap my legs around her. She stands up; I squeeze my thighs around her waist. We continue kissing as she carries me into the bedroom. I let go of Nadia as she lowers me to the bed. I watch Nadia walk to the night table with her panties wrapped around the base of ass no longer holding the might of her hard penis. She is hot! I quickly start kicking off my shoes as she turns on the lamp. It is a red light. That’s interesting. Nadia walks back to the front of the bed standing in front of me again. Nadia loosens my belt, unzips my pants; she pulls my pants and underwear off at the same time. She pulls her panties down her long milky white legs and over her pumps. Nadia is naked. Her breasts are firm; her cock pulsates with its own energy; she looks down at me holding her panties off the tip of her index finger.
Nadia impulsively moves her hand near my face, and she seductively folds them into my mouth. Oh My God! What’s happening? Nadia stares at me admiring her new toy for the night. Sitting there helpless on the edge of the bed I continue to take in the beauty of my woman. I love her. Don’t stop. Nadia holds her manhood in her hand and she looks down at it. Nadia looks back at me, she says, “Do you want this?” I move my head up and down (mumbling yes) as I reach for her waist to pull her closer. Nadia removes her panties from my mouth; she has no more use for them; the panties serve their purpose to find my limits. She tosses them to the floor.
Nadia turns her attention back to me, she gently rubs my bottom lip with the space between her thumb and forefinger. Nadia slowly sticks her second finger between my lips inviting me to suck on the length of her finger. And I do slowly. Nadia says, “I’m enjoying this. I’m in control now.” Still nervous, I whisper, “Yes. I love you.” I move back closer to the head of the bed. Nadia in a very soft voice replies, “I love you too. I will take care of you.” Climbing onto the bed, she touches the inside of my right thigh with her left hand spreading open my legs.
The red light creates an aroura surrounding Nadia that makes me feel safe. The red glow is the path to a new experience with Nadia. Nadia moves closer lying between my legs kissing my neck pressing her breasts against my chest. Nadia's kiss is a last unspoken request to submit to her lust; I close my eyes as my implicit yes to her solicitation.
Nadia’s lovemaking is penetrating, unrelenting, and demanding. I am limp and used; sleep is the only desire remaining. Nadia turns off the lamp. I welcome her softness as she lays her head on my chest. We spoon each other falling asleep.
Nadia’s morning erection and the sun wake me as the glare peaks through the small opening in the curtains. As she lies next to me with her arm across my chest, I stroke her messy blonde hair. Nadia is awake, and she starts rubbing her pale thigh against me. Both of us are erect now. At the same time, we both say, “Good morning.” Nadia asks timidly, "Are you okay?" I reply, "Yes, I am," too scared to ruin our connection. Do we have to talk about this?
As we lay embracing each other, Nadia asks, “Are you going to the gay pride parade with me? I want you on the float with us.” I hesitantly say, “Yes,” looking away so that she does not have to smell my morning breath. Nadia starts to pull away from me. “Where are you going?” I say. I pull her back toward me and roll myself in such a way that Nadia now is laying on her back. I say confidently this time, “I will be there. I promise. We are in this together,” as I start kissing the base of her neck. Nadia closes her eyes as I move past her breasts. I did not stop there; I continue to move further south of her navel. Pleasing her like this does not require minty fresh breath.
Over the next few weeks, things are going pretty good. My ex-wife even agrees to switch weekends with me. The pride parade is on the same weekend as my scheduled visitation. My ex-wife wants to know why I want to switch weekends. Feeling confident, a little stronger than usual, I reply, “That is none of your business.” I’m finally standing up for us.
A few weeks later, I stop by Mama’s house. As usual, the tv is blaring with the news. The reporter comments about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida which happened the night before. I sit there in my mother’s kitchen just stunned and saddened by the news. My stepfather says, "These LBT people had no chance. Like shooting fish in a barrel for the crazy gunman. I don’t even understand why men folk choose that, too many good-looking women running around here to be hanging out in that club. I’m glad me and your mother don’t have to worry you or your sister getting hurt in one of these places, we are a normal family.” My heart drops into the pit of my stomach.
Controlling my voice, I say, “Robert, first the acronym is LGBTQ. Second, you can’t go around making statements that other people aren't normal if they want something different. Have you considered they are fine with their lives as you are with yours? Mama, I got to go.” “Son, are you leaving so soon? You just got here,” Mama says. I start sweating and having a panic attack. I can’t breathe.
The nightclub shooting and Robert’s reaction to the community are too much for me. The following week something is off with me. The panic attacks continue. I text Nadia, “Can I stop by after work? I need to talk to you.” Nadia replies, “You know you can. I miss you.”
Inside Nadia’s apartment, I’m surprised to see the red light on in the bedroom. I immediately realize Nadia is in a mood, even aggressive. I felt her bulge against my stomach when we hug. She is not taking her estrogen. Nadia, seeing the seriousness in my face, says, “Honey what’s wrong?”
“Nadia, I can’t go to the parade,” I say mumbling. “What did you say? Did I hear you correctly?” Nadia says raising her voice. “I’m sorry, but I can’t go. I can’t ride on the float with you,” I say as I look away from her. Nadia moves closer to me.
Yelling at the top of her lungs, Nadia says, “I can’t do this anymore Ryan. I’m tired of feeling like I’m not good enough. I thought this was behind us. Are you too embarrassed to be with me? This is who I am! I am done making excuses for you to my friends. You want to keep me a secret just like your shemale movies. I don’t need you. I need someone who is willing to stand with me all the time not just when it feels good. You are so worried what your mother might think. I’ve thought all this time it was because I am trans. You’re scared your mother might find out that you’ve been dating a white girl. I don’t even care anymore what the reason is. Maybe you need to learn how to accept who you are first before you start passing judgment on the rest of us. Don’t touch me! Just get out. Get out!” Nadia screams pointing me toward the door. Nadia slams and locks the door behind me.
Oh God, what have I done? I do not want to break up; I can’t let people see me riding the float. I don’t want people to think I’m gay. I don’t have the courage.
Only a few weeks pass and not talking to Nadia is difficult. Nadia is not taking any of my phone calls. I don't have the energy for the gym. For some reason, a Bic razor has become good enough. One night, working through my misery; I walk into Club Vanessa. No one knew me there; so, it is okay. I park myself at the bar. I like to watch people just like I would do sitting in my car. So many different people; you can see why Nadia loves this place. People are having fun. Nobody pays me any attention. I start to regret not partying with Nadia when I had the chance.
An attractive young woman approaches the bar wanting a vodka and soda with a splash of cranberry juice. We look at each other and smile. She takes a sip from the straw; she makes quick eye contact. Looking back at me again, she turns toward me. She walks to the right of me gently touching my shoulder as she passes. I think she wants me to follow. I stay with her. Turning myself to continue watching this distraction she enters a corridor. I begin to move away from the bar to go after her. Suddenly, I accidentally bump into someone spilling some of his drink. I say, “Excuse me.”
He stops and looks very carefully at me; almost as if he knows me. Do I know him? I lose my concentration and the woman. Looking for the woman, I notice the corridor is lit by a dim red light. The light doesn’t give off a warm feeling. The light scares me. I abruptly turn toward the door and walk out of Club Vanessa.
I know my misery is showing to those close to me. Jerry pops his head into my office saying, “How are you doing?” I quickly say, “I’m doing fine just busy.” Jerry is funny. Jerry says, “You don’t seem fine.” “No, I’m okay,” I say with more emphasis to make Jerry go away. “Anytime you get this quiet, you are having girlfriend problems, or you need to get laid. We need to look at ourselves to understand where the problem lies,” Jerry says with a smile. Jerry turns to walk out of my office. I just sit there holding my head in my hands. Is Jerry, right?
The fourth of July weekend is finally here. My phone chimes. I prayed it is Nadia. It isn’t. It is my mother texting. “Your sister will be here around noon. What time are you coming by?” Looking at my watch, I say, “Screw this!” I jump in my car not really knowing what I am going to do.
I park my car. The parade is jammed pack with people. I remember I still have Nadia’s crafting materials in the trunk. With a red marker, I quickly write on a piece of cardboard, “Nadia I love you.” I walk several blocks through all the people holding my sign. Walking quickly, hoping not to be seen, I hear my name. The voice sounds familiar, but I am scared to turn around. I hear my name again, “Ryan! Ryan!” I do not believe this. Good Lord! It is my sister. She is at the parade.
“Ryan, what are you doing here?” my sister asks. “Me, what are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be on your way to Mama’s house? Mama thinks you are driving in from Austin,” I reply. “Don’t tell Mama we got here two days ago. We (pointing to her girlfriend) came in for the pride weekend,” she says. “What is this sign? Who is Nadia?” she asks. “I will tell you later, but I have to go. Mama, can’t know about this and both of us here at the parade, this will give her a heart attack. “Got to go, sis. Love you, we’ve got a lot to talk about,” I say running through the crowd. I run off wondering to myself “What in the hell just happened?”
I made my way to the front. I don’t know what her float looks like. I see a beautiful colorful float with the words Fight for Trans Rights. Nadia’s friends see my sign above all the people. They work to get Nadia’s attention. Nadia turns to look in the direction they are pointing. Nadia sees the sign. She seems confused, but she realizes it is me holding the sign and Nadia motions for me to come up.
Making my way through the mass of people, several nearby police officers notice me cutting through the crowd trying to get to her float. Two of the officers take hold of my arm. Because of all the commotion, a local news crew catches the police stopping me. The news crew focuses their cameras on me. Nadia yells to the police, “Let him come up. That is my boyfriend.” They release my arm.
I climb up onto their float. I look at Nadia and mouth to her saying, “I love you, be mine forever.” We start kissing. Her friends wrap a rainbow flag around us as we kiss. Nadia yells in my ear, “You finally decided to man up.” Laughing I yell back, “Yea, I did!” We face the crowd. I make eye contact with my sister as the float passes by. We smile at each other. The bystanders are cheering. A calm feeling swells up inside me. I’m proud to wave to the people. I close my eyes, despite all the noise, to appreciate the moment. It does not matter anymore that I am standing in the middle of a gay pride parade. Holding the person that I love is what matters.
Nadia and I turn our phones off for the rest of the weekend. We want a couple days just to ourselves. I prefer to take a whole week; however, I am up for a promotion this year, and I do not want to request too many days off.
I can hear Jerry down the hall. Popping his head into my office, “Look at you! I shouldn’t be surprised! Nadia is cute.” Jerry says. Pausing only long enough to catch his breath, “Your kiss went viral. You’ll need to get a room. Local news, the internet, man it is everywhere.” Jerry says. I reply, “Really! Wow!” I reflect leaning back into my seat. Jerry asks, “So was that your Jaguar at Club Vanessa?”
My desk phone rings. My smile immediately changes to a serious look because it is my vice president’s secretary calling. I say, “Jerry, let me take this call.” Picking up the phone, I say, “Hello Kathy. Yes, I’ll be there in a few minutes.” Standing up from my desk, my cell phone chimes. It is a text. It is my Mama.